Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Son and the Crescent - Christianity Today magazine -

The Son and the Crescent - Christianity Today magazine -
"Last year, representatives from several prominent mission agencies, both national and expatriate, met to compare notes about the progress of their respective ministries in one Muslim-majority country. (The country's name is withheld for security reasons.) The representatives rejoiced that more than 1,000 'fellowships,' as they call them, have been established for people from Muslim backgrounds. In fact, many of the fellowships had already planted new fellowships, and those fellowships had planted still more. Many thousands of Muslims in this nation alone, then, had found faith in Jesus.

Several of these fellowships can be traced back to small networks of Muslims who had encountered Christ and in turn began sharing with family and friends what they had discovered. In one case, a middle-aged working mother had inductively studied a new translation of the Bible for a few years. Among other language choices, the translation she used did not refer to Jesus as the 'Son of God,' due to confused and angry reactions from Muslims who mistakenly believe this phrase means that the Father engaged in sexual relations with Mary. To avoid this misunderstanding, the new translation called Jesus 'the Beloved Son who comes (or originates) from God.' ..."
I have some mixed feelings about this.

On one hand I believe the Scriptures need to be translated accurately and they should be a standard against which all theology is measured.

On the other hand, I remember the story of Apollos, who had heard the Good News and was preaching in the synagogue. His theological understanding was not quite what it could have been. It was Priscilla and Aquila who privately taught him "more adequately" what the Scriptures had to say. The result was that Apollos became an important leader in the first century Church, as well as a colleague of Paul.

It sounds like this translation may remove a major stumbling block to the hearing and understanding of the Gospel in that part of the world. There are still many factors that inhibit the preaching of the Good News, but it seems that small groups of Christians are spreading in these countries, much like the spread of the early Church.

There will be time enough to teach these new Christians more adequately, but in the meantime is the "Beloved Son who comes from the God" so inadequate that these people would be better off not hearing the Good News? I don't think so.

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